From Publishers Weekly
In this accessible and very sensible analysis, Collier (The Bottom Billion
) argues that the spread of democracy after the end of the Cold War has not actually made the world a safer place, as the West has promoted the wrong features of democracy: the façade rather than the essential infrastructure. The author hypothesizes that an insistence on elections without a system of checks and balances has led to widespread corruption, nations mired in ethnic politics and economic underperformance. Collier examines the effect of civil wars, coups and rebellions on burgeoning democracies, founding all arguments on methodology and data sets that provide a hard, quantitative view of political violence. While many of his observations are insightful and occasionally prescient, his analysis weakens when it strays from the data and enters more theoretical territory. However, the author maintains an approachable style and reaches beyond jargon to provide a highly readable account of the complex realities facing the developing world. Collier's suggestions are pragmatic, and although they may incense ideologues, most readers will connect with this common sense approach matched with obvious expertise. (Feb.)
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"Very important ideas based on extremely thorough empirical research...put him in the same camp as real heavyweights such as the Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz" -- Misha Glenny Guardian "Collier comes up with very concrete proposals and some ingenious solutions" The Times "Collier knows Africa intimately... It is hard to be unmoved by his anger about the world's blindness to realities, and his passion to do things better" -- Max Hastings Sunday Times "With its verve, wit and lateral thinking, this is a book that changes its readers' horizons" Observer "It is always a pleasure to discover Paul Collier's latest thoughts...always illuminating and grounded in rigorous social science...it's gripping stuff" -- Allister Heath Literary Review
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